Office Property Legal Advice

Making Sure You Get Sound Advice

Commercial (Office) Property Legal Advice Definition: The legal advice for occupational clients in connection with all types of commercial premises which they need for their operational requirements including offices, warehouse & distribution, retail and leisure premises.

You’re probably not a lawyer, but you’ll need to deal with one in order to navigate your next office move or conundrum. Early on a good lawyer will get you on the right track and make sure you’re thinking about the right things at the appropriate stages. 

The main role of a lawyer in this area is to negotiate the detailed legal transaction documentation including any lease or property transfer, as well as any security and Licence for Alterations documentation. 

This will generally include property due diligence and amending landlord drafted leases to shift some liability and risk from the tenant back to the landlord. This negotiation will focus on critical parts of the lease including rent review, service charge and items which could cost a tenant dearly. For example a tenant break option if a break option has onerous conditions attached (as they almost always do in the initial draft!). This can make the break practically unusable so a firm line has to be taken to get the necessary changes for tenant clients.

Common Misconceptions

– Commercial property lawyers charge by the hour for work and don’t agree fixed fees

–  A tenant of a new lease will not take on liability for any existing defects or repairs required to the premises before he took the lease on. When in fact standard commercial  lease wording will typically land the tenant with this starting liability if not amended.

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Things To Have In Mind

Before you speak to your guru:

It’s a great idea to have decided a few things in advance. Answers to the adjacent questions will help the Guru to give you the best advice in the shortest time possible. 

Don’t worry if precise details about each aren’t yet known, but the more accurate you can be, the easier it will be for the Guru to help you. 

Moving out or taking on a new premises? And if so when do you need to leave your existing premises?

(Example answers)

In two months we’re leaving our current Co-working space and moving into our own office.

What are the basic terms of the new premises you are taking? (e.g. length of lease, starting rent, any security being given, rent deposit or bank guarantee.)

The length of our new lease is five years and the rent is £85K per annum.

Do you need to do alteration/fit out works to the premises before you occupy them. If so, what is the estimated time to complete the works?

Yes, we estimate the project to take six weeks.

Are any new cabling works required for the premises prior to your occupation (as these can often require way leave agreements to be entered into by you and the service provider with the landlord which can be slow to put in place so an early start on these is advisable).

Yes, we believe everything has been stripped out by the previous tenant

Your Guru will be Craig

Craig is a specialist Commercial Property lawyer with over 20 years experience in advising clients including Landlords, Office Occupiers and Property Investors. He also specialises in advising Retail and Leisure operators and Law firms on the Real Estate aspects of their deals.

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